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Again it is asked, “ But if, so far as you are concerned, the prospect were all pleasure, would it overcome all your regard for others whom it threatens with imminent destruction ?”
If others are in actual danger, that danger can be none the less, from our ignorance of it. If we knew nothing of their danger, we should not make the effort to rescue them as we should if we saw their true condition. A knowledge of the event, there. fore, seems to be desirable, for their sakes.
We ought to regard the glory of Christ as of more consequence than the happiness of the entire human race, who can only be miserable because they refuse the offers of mercy of this same Savior. Our knowledge or ignorance of the event can neither hasten or delay it, and therefore such knowledge cannot add to the misery of those to be destroyed. We cannot see how such reasoning can affect the question. If we knew that probation would end in one year, many would go from house to house, and from street to street, to pull sinners out of the fire, who now supinely fold their arms, because they know not that the time is so short. Such a knowledge, might accordingly have a mosi blessed effect, not only on the Christian, but save the souls of sinners.
The argument respecting the little reliance to be placed in conversions which take place in the prospect of impending death, and the unfitness that such prospect produces for making the necessary prepation, we cannot quote in full, owing to its length. But it strikes us, that if men were thus unfitted, the Ninevites would never have repented at the preach
ing of Jonah, the thief would not have repented on the cross, nor would the judgments of God be so prominently presented in his word as an inducement to repentance. But would men be any more likely to repent and prepare for an impending event, if it is taken for granted that such event is at a distance ? Or would such woes te pronounced upon watchmen who neglect to give warning when they see the sword coming, and the people die in their sins, if such warning would unfit them for such preparation ? With such views, Noah would not have warned the inhabitants of the old world, nor would Lot those of the cities of the plain. We are commanded to repent lest we likewise perish.
He argues, “ that it is not for us to foreknow the time,” &c.
III. “ From the uncertainty attending the interpretation of the Scriptures on the subject."
The arguments in support of this division of the subject, would seem to indicate that the meaning of the whole of Daniel and John is a matter of doubt, and that we can arrive at no certainty on the subject. As the evidence has been so often presented on these points, to present it again in this connection would be an unnecesary repetition. We will therefore barely notice but a few points.
Of the “ fourth beast” in the seventh of Daniel, it is said to be “a matter of doubt,” whether it was the Roman empire, or not. Daniel is informed that “the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces,” Dan. vii. 23. Of the " fourth kingdom,” Daniel says, it shall be strong as iron; forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things, and as iron that breaketh all these,” (the three previous kingdoms) "shall it break in pieces and bruise,” Dan. ii. 40.
In the 2d and 7th of Daniel, the fourth kingdom is described as being divided into ten parts, and continuing in that divided state, till the consumation, The Roman kingdom is the fourth universal king. dom,according to the undisputed consent of all histo. rians; it compares with these prophecies in all their particulars, and no other kingdom can be pointed out which can thus compare. With such clear and positive testimony, we should suppose that if this could be a matter of doubt, that no truth could be freed from such doubts. If an existing doubt is an argument against a truth, then the truth of the Christian religion, and even of the Bible itself, can only be problematical; because, there are those who have doubts respecting the. authenticity of the word of God. Such doubts however are not considered as valid objections, while the evidence of the truth of the Bible is so clear and conclusive. Neither because it is doubted that the “fourth beast” is the Roman kingdom, does it follow that the conclusive evidence which establishes that point, should be set aside as of no weight.
Again it is said that if the fourth beast is the Roman empire, that “ there is still more difficulty in determining what were the ten horns' or kingdoms, that arose from it. Nor is it clearly proved
that the little horn' or kingdom, which afterwards came up among them, and subdued three of them, was the papal power, rather than Antiochus Epiphanes.” p. 273.
The evidence is so clear that the fourth beast is the Roman empire, that it would seem to settle the question, that Antiochus, who came out of the division of the third kingdom, could not be the one here denoted that was to arise out of the “fourth." The first ten kingdoms that arose out of the ruins of the Roman empire, appears to be also a question well settled by Marchiaval, an historian, and Dr. Hales and Bishop Lloyd, chronologers.
Again it is left exceeding doubtful who was meant by the little horn' in the 8th chapter. It came from one of the four that rose up in the place of the great horn, which signified Alexander, whose empire was divided into four parts after his death; and this king or power, springing from one of those divisions, has been most generally understood to signify Antiochus."
To apply this “ little horn” to Antiochus, is to make him the most conspicuous of any single character in prophecy,—even more conspicuous than were the preceding universal empires.
Josephus, a Jew, whose national feelings rendered his own nation, and the events connected with their history, as being in his eyes the fulfilment of all prophecy,–Porphyry, an infidel, who attempted, by showing a minute fulfilment of the book of Daniel, to prove that it was written after the events occurred; and Rollin, a Roman-Catholic, who was interested in showing that papacy was not the AntiChrist, all have attempted to prove that Antiochus was the hero of Daniel's prophecy. Such an application, however, leads us into many difficulties which cannot be freed from doubts. Those who thus interpret it, say that it must necessarily be him, be. cause it was to arise out of one of the four horns.
There is however some doubt whether the “little horn" was to arise out of one of the four horns. It says “ the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones towards the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn." The question is, are the “four notable ones," or the “ four winds,” the antecedent of the “little horn.” The “four winds” denote the four points of the compass-in the direction of the four quarters of the globe. If, therefore, the “four winds” is the antecedent of the “ little horn,” it must have come forth from towards one of the four quarters of the globe-from one of the four points of the compass, or in the direction of one of the four winds; and this we find true, with regard to Rome. While the three preceding universal empires arose around the neighborhood of Judea, Rome arose towards one of the four winds of heaven-“out of one of them came forth a little horn.” That this could not be Antiochus, coming out of one of the four horns, is thus shown by Sir Isaac Newton. His mind appears to be freed from doubts on this question.